NP girls start hot, down Cascade, 49-44

Saturday, December 15, 2007
North Putnam's Shawna Johnston puts up a shot in traffic during Friday's 49-44 win over Cascade. Johnston finished with 20 points.

CLAYTON -- A tough full-court press from Cascade could not overcome a fast start by North Putnam, as the Lady Cougars held on for a 49-44 win over the Cadets on their home floor Friday.

North Putnam (3-7, 0-1 WCC) forced a number of early turnovers, to go up on Cascade (3-7, 1-2 WCC) 15-4 late in the first quarter. The lead stood at 15-6 after one.

"We jumped out aggressively. We've had great first quarters all year long and the second quarter's been our nemesis," Cougar coach Kevin Smith said. "If we could have better second quarters some nights, we'd be pretty good."

The problem with the second quarter on Friday was Cascade's full court pressure. After handling it well in the first, the Cougars struggled in the second. They finished the half with nine turnovers, the bulk of which came in the second quarter.

"Turnovers have been our nemesis. We're averaging 23 turnovers a game. We had nine at halftime; we had a few more in the second half," Smith said. "Our young girls are learning. We're getting better every game. Our turnovers are becoming different turnovers each game. We are getting better at taking care of the basketball."

The Cougars finished the evening with 24 turnovers. However, the Cadets were just behind with 18 of their own.

"Defensively, I thought we did a really nice job early in the game -- really took them out of what they were trying to do," Smith said. "We did a nice job of tapping the glass, defensively and offensively. We've been doing a good job of that lately."

The Cougars outrebounded the Cadets 34-22.

Shawna Johnston led the Eagles with 20 points. Her second-half points came at key points, keeping the lead at five-to-seven points. Although the game was closely contested most of the evening, the Cougars never trailed.

"It seemed like every time tonight that they would get it to five, Shawna would score and then push it to seven," Smith said.

Johnston was 6-for-11 from the field and 8-of-9 from the line.

"When she had the basketball, she scored. She's a good foul shooter. If you put her on the line, she's about a 75 percent foul shooter."

Leah Crosby was next for the Cougars, scoring 10 of her 12 points in the second half. Taylor Alles was also in double figures with 10.

After their holiday break, the Lady Cougars return with a visit to Fountain Central at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3.

At Cascade

North Putnam 15 8 12 14 -- 49

Cascade 6 12 10 16 -- 44

North Putnam -- Johnston 6-11 8-9 20, L. Crosby 4-7 4-8 12, Alles 5-12 0-1 10, Malayer 2-4 0-0 5, McGaughey 0-1 2-2 2, E. Crosby 0-2 0-0 0, Frye 0-0 0-2 0.

Cascade -- Arnold 7-16 1-4 17, Suter 4-5 2-5 10, Morgan 4-12 0-0 8, Sallee 2-6 0-0 4, English 2-3 0-0 4, Stewart 1-5 0-1 3, Tomblin 0-3 0-0 0, Stephenson 0-3 0-0 0.

Next game -- North Putnam (3-7, 1-0 WCC) resume their season after the holidays when they visit Fountain Central at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3.

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